STATE v. REYNALDO ARROYO, AC 28044

 Judicial District of Middlesex

 

      Criminal; Whether Jury Instruction Concerning Credibility of Jailhouse Informants was Warranted; Whether Jury Should Have Been Instructed Concerning Reliability of DNA Evidence; Whether Verdicts were Legally Inconsistent.  The defendant was convicted of felony murder, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree and larceny in the fifth degree in connection with the 2001 robbery of a Middlefield package store that resulted in the shooting death of the store's owner.  At trial, two informants testified that, while they were jailed with the defendant, he told them that he had participated in the robbery.  The defendant appeals, claiming the trial court improperly declined his request that the jury be given a special instruction regarding the informants' credibility.  In State v. Patterson, 276 Conn. 452 (2005), a decision released just months after the defendant's convictions, the Supreme Court ruled that a defendant is entitled to such an instruction where a jailhouse informant who testifies against him had been promised a benefit by the state in return for his testimony.  The defendant argues that, while the informants here did not receive promises of favorable treatment in return for their testimony, a cautionary instruction concerning their credibility was nonetheless warranted because they gave testimony in anticipation that they would receive some benefit in return.  The defendant's second claim concerns a jacket seized from his residence and alleged to have been worn by the defendant during the robbery.  While the results of scientific testing tended to connect the jacket to the crime scene, DNA found on the jacket was not the defendant's.  The defendant now claims that, as General Statutes 54-86k deems DNA testing a reliable scientific technique, the trial court erred in denying his request that the jury be instructed that DNA evidence is reliable and that the jury should consider whether the DNA evidence in this case tended to exculpate the defendant.  Finally, the defendant claims that the jury's verdicts were legally inconsistent because, while his conviction of felony murder was predicated on the underlying felony of robbery, he was acquitted of the charge of robbery in the first degree.